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British Pioneer Wins Nobel for In-Vitro Fertilization
A British physiologist and pioneer in reproductive medicine, Robert G. Edwards, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for developing in-vitro fertilization.
Edwards, 85, a former professor at the University of Cambridge in England, will get the 10 million-kronor ($1.5 million) prize, the Nobel Assembly said today in Stockholm. He won the Albert Lasker award for clinical medical research in 2001. His research partner, Patrick Steptoe, died in 1988.
Edwards, who along with Steptoe created the first test tube baby in 1978, conducted his reproductive research in the face of opposition from church and government. He has now left Cambridge, a spokesman for the university said. His health is frail and he isn’t available for interviews, said Mike Macnamee, chief executive of Bourn Hall, the Cambridge clinic where Edwards and Steptoe first performed IVF. Macnamee, who joined Edwards’s research team in the early 1980s, said the two scientists were “pushing back frontiers.”
“The work at Bourn Hall in those heady days was directed at making the treatment more widely available and the patients were well aware that they too were making history,” Macnamee said in an e-mailed statement. “There are now over 4 million IVF babies worldwide as a result of the techniques developed in Cambridge.”